White Sun (Seto Surya) has been selected as Nepal’s entry for the 90th Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film race.
The second feature from writer-director Deepak Rauniyar revolves around a family divided by bloody war who must come together to put their father to rest. The film is set against the backdrop of the Himalayas and the violent history of Nepal, during which a war between royalists and Maoists cost 16,000 lives between 1996 and 2006.
The film kicks off with the sudden death of Chitra (Prakash Ghimire), the former mayor of a small mountain village. According to local tradition, his body must be carried down the mountain to be cremated near a river. His estranged son, Chandra (Dayahang Rai), who left to fight with the Maoists, returns to find old battles still simmering under the surface.
White Sun premiered at the Venice film festival and was considered one of the sleeper hits out of the festival picking up the Interfilm award. Its other honors included a new voices/new visions grand jury prize at the Palm Springs festival, while the film traveled widely on the festival circuit, covering Toronto, Busan, Singapore and Mumbai, among others. White Sun was picked up for international distribution by The Match Factory.
The film was co-produced with Qatar, the Netherlands and the U.S., with Danny Glover among its executive producers via Louverture Films.
In its Venice review, The Hollywood Reporter predicted the film’s shot at being a player in the foreign-language Oscar race, saying that White Sun “is a delicately-observed, multi-generational story which will prove awards-bait at festivals across the world over the coming months…and could plausibly go a fair distance” if submitted).
Nepal has only scored one nomination at the Oscars with 1999’s Caravan, the country’s first submission in the foreign-language category. Since then, Nepal has submitted seven other films, including last year’s The Black Hen.
The 90th Academy Awards will be held March 4, 2018.